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The classes in Classroom of the Elite have a very distinct divide between the quality of their students. If, as a school, your objective is to educate and send out the best of the best into the world, why would a class of obvious delinquents even exist? It’s actually quite simple.

[Note: This article contains spoilers for Classroom of the Elite.]

In Classroom of the Elite, each class is designated a letter from A to D depending on their overall performance. The better the test scores and general attitude of the students, the more Class Points the class will receive. The total Class Points serve as a ranking system with A Class being the best and receiving the most Class Points and D Class being the worst and receiving the least. If, for any reason, a class manages to outperform and earn more Class Points than a higher ranking class, the class rankings change as well as the letter designation.

This much makes sense in the capitalist competitive sense. However, the classes were already each given a letter designation before their first actual evaluation. And indeed, after the initial evaluation, there was no change of letters. That means up until the first evaluation, each class performed exactly as was expected.

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The Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing High School in the anime is one of the country’s best schools—boasting a near 100% rate of students either going on to higher education after graduation or directly entering the workforce. It is highly likely that entry into the school involves an entry exam of some sorts to test the students’ abilities (like most high schools in the real world Japan). And, of course, if there is an entrance exam, it would stand to reason that it is possible to flunk it.

As it turns out, Class D is full of sub-par students. Take Ken Sudou, for example. He is an excellent athlete, but is constantly getting into fights. Heck, his classmate had to literally bribe the teacher to raise his test score high enough to avoid getting expelled for failing grades. For such a prestigious school, you’d think they wouldn’t even have let such an obvious problem student in in the first place. The only reason to let his in is because his problematical nature was the point. He, like the rest of Class D, was never meant to succeed in the first place.

We can see the quality of the students in each class. Students in Class A are the crème de la crème. The alphas. Flawless, ideal, and destined for greatness. Students in Class B are the ones who just barely didn’t make the cut into Class A. They’re diamonds with slight imperfections. Students in Class C are capable, but have underlying issues that could be seen as problematic.

And then there’s Class D. Everyone in Class D has some kind of major flaw, be it blatant or hidden. The main character, Kiyotaka Ayanokouji, is extremely capable, both physically and mentally, yet purposely lowers his own performance and attempts to blend into the crowd. The heroine, Suzune Horikita, has a massive superiority complex. The kind and friendly Kikyou Kushida hides a sadistic and manipulative personality under her cheerful exterior.

So why even let these problem children in? If every member of Class D has the potential to ruin the school’s reputation, it stands to reason that it would be easier for the school not to let them in in the first place and just let the remaining three classes compete.

Unless that’s the point. D Class isn’t meant to succeed. D Class is meant to be a failure. Why? Because it gives the upper classes motivation as well as serves as an outlet for any pent-up stress and hostility. The Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing High School is essentially a reflection of society itself. Each class serves as a different rung in the social ladder. A Class is the upper class, B Class is the upper-middle class, C Class is the lower-middle class, and D class is the lower class. This model works best because there is a lower class to look down upon.

I’m reminded of a classic comedy skit by the late, great George Carlin: “The upper class gets all of the money, does none of the work. The middle class does all of the work, pays all of the taxes. The poor are there just to scare the hell out of the middle class.” D Class acts as a warning to the other classes—“One wrong move, and this could be you.” It makes the other classes strive to not be D Class. Even the backdoor option mirrors the societal model in a way: Earn enough Private Points/money and you can buy your way into the upper class. It makes sense that C Class would go out of their way to try to lower D Class’ standing even further. If they can widen the gap, there’s less of a risk for them.

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D Class, on the other hand is trying to overturn the system and to climb their way up from the lower class to the upper class. As unlikely as this is in a system that is specifically designed to prevent this, this is still a possibility. And even that possibility is not out of the realm of expectations for the school itself. If a class that in all likelihood was going to slog through their high school career at the bottom rung somehow manages to remake themselves and perform to the point they can outdo the best of the best, then that in and of itself serves as an argument as to the validity and success of the school’s system. Either way, the school wins. The students’ success is merely a byproduct.

Now Let’s See How D Class Performs in Classroom of the Elite When the Playing Field Is Level

The latest events have placed the classes on a more level playing field, allowing D Class to close the gap between them and Class C. Even if they do eventually manage to overtake them, while it will make their lives easier, the system still remains the same and there will still be a Class D to serve as the bottom rung on what is perhaps the most twisted social experiment and perversion of the Japanese educational system.

Classroom of the Elite Is a Dark Twist on the Japanese Educational System

Classroom of the Elite can be viewed with English subtitles on Crunchyroll, and with English dialogue on FUNimation.

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